The recent revealing of a video that purports to show a Planned Parenthood employee talking about selling the body parts of aborted fetuses has caused a stir around the web. There have been, predictably, many different reactions to this video. Some have been skeptical, noting that Planned Parenthood itself claims to only receive reimbursement for the transportation of this “tissue.” Others have jumped to accuse Planned Parenthood of human trafficking. Tired labels rejected by those being labeled have been tossed back and forth, like “anti-abortion activists”; “murderers”; and the like.
I’m not going to dive into the controversy over whether careful editing made the video say more than it actually does, or whether Planned Parenthood needs to be shut down. It seems like investigations are already underway to look into this issue more deeply.
What I instead want to offer is a brief discussion of the question that is behind all of this controversy: “Whose body parts are they?”
To whom do these hearts, livers, lungs, and the like belong? Which body are they a part of? How you answer these questions is extremely important. If these are part of the mother, then the controversy may still stand–selling one’s own body parts would be questionable ethically. But if they’re not, then what?
The position that maintains these are just parts of the mother cannot be maintained. Does a mother, upon pregnancy, begin to grow an extra heart, extra limbs, an extra brain? How many brains do human beings have?
To maintain that this “tissue” is merely part of the mother that is being donated or sold for research (or whatever purposes) is absurd on its face. One would have to actually believe–not just argue for the sake of maintaining their position–that during pregnancy, a mother grows new parts of her body such as a brain, legs, and the like, which are all characterized by different DNA (unless cloned) and around 50% of the time has a different gender. That is, not to put too fine a point on it, one would have to actually claim that women grow penises.
So I ask you, dear readers. Whose body parts are they?
The outrage for selling these body parts may be on point. But how much greater should the outrage be at the fact that the body parts in question are those not of the mother, but of a distinct living organism with separate DNA?
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Be sure to check out my other posts in which I argue for the pro-life position. Particularly relevant to the present discussion are “From conception, a human” and “The issue at the heart of the abortion debate.”
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